With G.I. Joe: Retaliation firmly secured as Paramount Pictures' third biggest box office hit of 2013 so far, the studio is already moving ahead with G.I. Joe 3, and director Jon M. Chu's success at bringing the classic toy-based franchise to the big screen with a sequel that was a bigger hit than the first movie has dropped the opportunity to direct a movie based on another classic property, Masters of the Universe.
Chu has said previously that he's not interested in making a campy or tongue-in-cheek movie out of Masters of the Universe, and instead is eager to built a serious, fully-developed fantasy world that will likely be similar in tone to the original mini-comics that came with the toys. At that point, Chu described Masters of the Universe as being still in the design and development stage, and he's now given in update in response to questions about when exactly production will begin forging ahead.
Based on this interview with ComingSoon, it sounds like there's still a lot of forging going on with Masters of the Universe, but it doesn't seem to be moving ahead just yet. Chu states that he is still working on designs and development of Eternia and the characters in it, as he was a few months ago:
"We've been designing a ton of stuff for Masters of the Universe as a really beautiful, grounded, honest world - that's the best way I can describe it. It's everything you want Masters of the Universe to be in terms of the fantasy but not in a way theatrical crazy way. It is actually a gorgeous world that we're doing in the initial visual concepts that we've been making."
Chu's Masters of the Universe has been described as a "sort of origin story" about the character, which is probably going to be necessary in order to establish He-Man for a new audience. Aside from the new mini-comics that accompany the current line of Masters of the Universe toys, there haven't been any major additions to the property since the short-lived 2002 TV reboot. The franchise is currently in a good position to be rebooted, since many among the current generation of children and young teens who will presumably constitute the primary target audience (along with the die-hard fans of course) will most likely be unfamiliar with previous iterations of the character.
This leaves Chu with the opportunity to bring a fresh new take to the series, but also with the challenge of recreating Eternia for the big screen in a way that will be accessible for a new audience. It's therefore promising that Chu cites the script, which was originally penned by Predators writing team Mike Finch and Alex Litvak, for Masters of the Universe as the main reason he found the confidence to take on the job:
"The script for 'Masters of the Universe' is what really hooked me... I love Masters of the Universe, but I didn't know necessarily how to make it into a movie until I read the script and thought, 'Oh my gosh, I totally see it. I get how this is going to shake it up, I get how this is different from any other thing,' and it got me really really excited."
Keep in mind that Masters of the Universe is still in the initial design stages and plenty could still change from this point, including the potential to fall into development hell. Chu wasn't able to say when exactly the cameras are likely to begin rolling on Masters of the Universe, and he also dropped a hint that he may end up having to choose between He-Man and G.I. Joe, as Paramount recently tapped Chu to return for the third movie in the rebooted G.I. Joe franchise. The director admits that if the planned shooting schedules clash, "I don't know if Masters of the Universe will wait for me."
Do you like the sound of Jon M. Chu shaking things up for Masters of the Universe like he did for G.I. Joe? Give us your thoughts on this new comments from the director, and which of the two toy-inspired franchises you'd prefer to see a continuation of, in the comments.
Sony Pictures hasn't yet announced a release date for Masters of the Universe, but we'll keep you updated on any further developments.